Funeral of funnyman Bobby Knoxall + SLIDESHOW

The great and the good turned out in force to say a final farewell to a true Mackem legend.

It was standing room only as hundreds paid tribute to Wearside comedian Bobby Knoxall.

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The 75-year-old dad-of-five – whose real name was Robert McKenna – enjoyed more than 50 years in the entertainment business after starting off as an East End barrow boy.

He made folk laugh in life – and he was still making them laugh at his funeral.

His son Ryan relayed many of his dad's favourite jokes to mourners at the Holy Rosary Church, where Bobby and his wife, Diane, renewed their wedding vows to mark their 25th anniversary.

Bobby, who died on July 20 at Sunderland Royal Hospital, also left siblings Charlie, Kenny and Violet, and children John, Brent, Stephen and Robert, and nephew Gary who was also like a son to him.

Giving the service, Father Jonathan Rose said that "what you saw was what you got" with down-to-earth Bobby, and that he was a man who was "deeply proud of his family and of Sunderland, whether it was the city of the football club".

Bobby, was a massive Black Cats fan and sang the 1973 FA Cup Final record Sunderland All The Way.

Among the mourners were Jimmy Montgomery and Dick Malone from the cup-winning team, SAFC chairman Niall Quinn and former captains Gary Bennett and Kevin Ball.

From the world of showbiz was fellow North East star Tim Healy, while Sunderland boxer Tony Jeffries also took time out to pay his respects.

Bobby received an MBE from the Queen, which son Ryan said was his dad's and the family's "proudest moment", and made an "ambassador" for Sunderland by the council.

He was also devoted to helping others and raised more than 1million for charities during his career.

The collection plates at the funeral were for Sunderland's Grace House Children's Hospice Appeal.

The coffin arrived at the service – which was followed by burial at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery and a wake at the Stadium of Light – in a horse-drawn hearse, with wreaths in red and white.

It was carried in to the Farringdon church to the sound of Frank Sinatra's My Way and left to Vera Lynn's Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye.

Fittingly, the service ended with a standing ovation to Bobby, led by his cousin, Father John Clarke.